Compression of morbidity: a promising approach to alleviate the societal consequences of population aging?

The rise in life expectancy in the twentieth century is one of the great successes of public health. However, it has also contributed importantly to the aging of western populations. Aging poses great challenges to the modern welfare state, and there is an urgent need for strategies to be developed that will help to alleviate the societal consequences of population aging. In this paper, the researchers focus on one promising approach: achieving a ‘compression of morbidity’, i.e. a reduction of the number of years spent in ill health. The compression of morbidity into a smaller number of years at the end of life would enable people to care for themselves at advanced ages and to stay at work for a longer period of time. The researchers conclude that compression of morbidity is a promising approach to alleviate the societal consequences of aging, but how it can best be achieved, is a topic for further research.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.


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